What to Expect
“Yea, and all that will live godly In Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 8:12).
In casting a hurried glance over the highway of holy living clear back to the time of pious Abel, we see no place where the world had any esteem or appreciation for a godly person. There is a trail of the blood of the saints, so to speak, all the way from the body of the martyr Abel clear down to the present day. The way of the Christian is by no means strewn with flowers but as the apostle tells us, we “through much tribulation enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I want to mention five characters found in the Bible who represent five classes of persecutors which the convert may expect to meet on his homeward march.
1. Criticizing, accusing Bildad, the Shuhite. We are sorry to say that all the Bildads are not dead but are still to be found here and there to find fault, censure, blame and torment the saints of God.
2. Slandering, talebearing Doeg, the Edomite. There are also a host of this man’s relations still on earth. It may be a little difficult to locate them, however, unless you get into a neighborhood where Gods’ people reside. There is hardly any doubt about finding several of these holiness-hating, abusing vultures of hell, sailing around and prying in, trying to scent some carrion of ill news and slander.
3. Old, predicting, threatening, frightening Sanballat and Tobiah. These two characters are also still around to preach discouragement, insanity, poorhouse and potter’s field to newly saved souls who are giving up the world and taking the way of the Lord.
4. Deserting surface hearers. This class of people will come to your meeting and declare they are going to take the track and stand by the work of the Lord, but as soon as you deliver a clean-cut, radical sermon, denouncing lodges, theaters, circuses, skating rinks, ball games, county fairs, church socials and entertainments, also the wearing of feathers, flowers, silks, satins, jewelry and costly apparel, these people will leave you like a flock of blackbirds.
5. The self-conceited Pharisees. These fellows will come around posing as gospel workers. They will profess to believe and teach the same doctrine as yourself, but from a spiritual standpoint they are as dead as the bones in the valley of Ezekiel’s vision. They can sit under the most scorching, heart-searching sermon, and from all appearances are no more affected than Satan, the arch-fiend of hell.
Reader, as you run up the highway, take heed that you be not influenced by these five characters.